Down on the farm: Tues, Sept 21, 2004

This summer seems to have lasted for ever. Lazy sunny days have become the norm and it’s been great to get up every day, slap on a T shirt and shorts and go out to see what the weather is doing ………… needless to say, its been hot and sunny! The grounds are looking very brown and bare and water is now required. Nights are getting much fresher however and the climate will soon change. 

Weve just come up with an idea for the perfect way to keep the terraces tidy and free of weeds. Its cheap to run, efficient, reliable ………….. no, it’s not a Black and Decker Strimmer, its a……DONKEY! Yes we really seem to have lost it this time. If we can buy it at the right price then we’ll have “Bessie the Burro” joining the clan. So, how did all come about?

We have a friend called “Juan”. He is a nice lad, very willing to help and in the past has helped with rotavating the land etc. He does however speak very fast and not particularly with the best pronunciation. The problems seem to arise when we have a conversation with him in a bar. Now, bearing in mind that I am a relative novice in the Spanish language, I can only get the gist of what he is trying to say. I go away happy that I’ve got the gist of what was being said but unfortunately I always seem to miss out and not recognise some very important part of his sentences. Needless to say that when I believe he is going to quote us for some hay bales for the horses, 50 will arrive 2 days later. You get the idea!

A few days ago a friend, Sam told us he was looking for a male mule to help him on the land. Being good neighbours we asked Juan if he knew anybody who had one . Juan told us (or so we thought) his friend had one for free and he lived just above Lanjarón. Consequently we arranged a meeting with Juan, Sam and ourselves (as translators?) to view the mule. It turned out that the mule wasn’t a mule it was a donkey; it wasn’t above Lanjarón it was 25 miles away high up in the hills; it wasn’t free and above all it was female not male. Muttering apologies we retired to the bar!

So this lovable grey donkey’ess is available and is cheap and we are seriously considering making a purchase ourselves instead of the sheep we were originally considering. Can’t see me on it riding around the hills though!

Antonio my neighbour turned up the other day and shouted ……….. “Sheet”. “Que” said I. “Sheet” he repeated, “Quiero sheet”. Just before I was about to get the dreaded dictionary out the penny dropped. He wanted some horse manure for his vegetable patch! We’ve evidently been giving him some for some months now. He took us to see his vege patch which contained the most massive tomatoes and peppers I’ve ever seen. He filled bagsfulls for us to take home. I asked him what was the secret of his success and he replied …….. “Agua and Sheet”. Antonio has had 3 pigs for the last 6 months foraging around his land. This last weekend his female pig gave birth to 14 piglets. Think we might just be eating a lot of pork this winter! 

Written by:
Richard Hartley

Richard is an avid blogger and the founder of Spanish Highs Sierra Nevada. He is author of the Cicerone Guidebook Walking and Trekking in the Sierra Nevada